Eternally troubled singer Amy Winehouse was forced to scrap her entire European comeback tour after a disastrous performance in Belgrade, Serbia, during which the singer seemed incredibly intoxicated, stumbled around the stage and was unable to remember the words to her own songs. Winehouse has a long, storied and sad history of substance abuse, but seemed to have been doing better recently. She put on a stellar show in London just a few days before her botched show in Serbia, leading to more than a few “Amy Is Back” headlines.
The announcements were prophetic, but not in the way fans hoped. The Amy that took the stage in Belgrade was not the soulful songstress that thrilled audiences in 2006, when her “Back to Black” record ruled the charts. Instead, fans got the troubled star that emerged a year later.
It’s easy to assume the “Valerie” singer will never be able to get it together, but Dr. Karen Khaleghi of Creative Care Malibu tells MTV News that the singer is far from a lost cause: “What it will take for Amy to be clean and sober is to tackle the twin demons of the physical addiction of what she has become hooked on and the emotional issues that got her to the place she is today.”
“Artists frequently feel that they need to be in an altered state to be at their creative best and if they have traditionally been high while they have felt most prolific then this belief is reinforced,” Dr. Khaleghi tells us. “Frequently there is a lack of awareness that once the person is addicted, the quality of their artistic achievement is very diminished. In Amy’s case, her addiction lead to her inability to perform on stage and the cancellation of her concert tour.”
For Winehouse, this reinforcement could be particularly dangerous. Her biggest U.S. hit is, after all, a song called “Rehab,” and she has been celebrated for channeling her inner demons, which have included her troubles with alcohol and drugs, into her lyrics.
Dr. Khaleghi says that another major concern for Winehouse’s recovery is that so many people in her life have a financially vested interest in seeing her work – they earn their livelihood through her and are less likely to push for her to seek treatment because that would cripple their income.
“Intervention can be used to get Amy into treatment, however, it requires that there be people close to Amy that are vested in her recovery. Those people can be her significant other, family members and friends,” Dr. Khaleghi says. “Through the process of becoming free from addiction Amy can come to connect the dots that lead her down her current path and discover the pain that lead to use, learn the places that she is most vulnerable and the triggers that lead to use. In understanding all of this she will know how to prevent relapse.”